by Nicole Lisson
- The Capitol Hill Times
Last December, the hill was saddened to hear of the closing of B and O Espresso to make room for a six-story mixed-use development project.
The restaurant has been a landmark on the corner of Olive Way for 36 years. It stood as a blaring sign of the direction in which Capitol Hill was headed. Out with the old, in with the new. Then, a simple act of kindness gave the old building one last shot.
“Last year the landlord gave us one more year and he helped us by reducing the rent,” owner Jane Luktha said.
With that year gone and another one upon them, B and O Espresso’s nine lives are up. Sunday will be the official closing date. However, don’t bury and forget about them yet. Developer John Stoner may have found a special place in his heart for the neighborhood cafe.
“They want us to come back and they will build to suit our space. Some drawings have already been done,” Luktha said.
While that is joyous news, you cannot replace charm, which is something the owner is anxious about.
“It’s a new building. I worry that my customers will come in and say, ‘Well, it’s not the same.’”
Over the years though, parking for the café has dwindled and the mixed-use building’s underground garage will be a welcomed answer. In the meantime, B and O Espresso has found a new home in Ballard on Leary Avenue and will focus more on the desserts. It will be open sometime in January. If all goes well, Luktha hopes to have two locations once the building on the corner of Olive Way is finished in a year and a half to two years from now.